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Server bug cripples Dublin law firms

Server bug cripples Dublin law firms
Server bug cripples Dublin law firms 

By ElectricNews.Net
10th December 2005

Solicitors across Dublin fell victim to an accidental mass mailing
that crippled their systems this week, clogging inboxes and causing
widespread disruption.

The problem was attributed to an improper server configuration,
causing five servers to send out more than half a million emails to
Dublin solicitors. The deluge of mail originated with a publishing
company's email marketing message, which was sent to solicitors. When
some solicitors attempted to reply to the mail, a fault in the
solicitors' configuration of Microsoft Small Business Server sent the
original email to their entire email database tens of thousands of

The incident crashed mail servers and caused embarrassment to those
involved. The problem even hit smaller solicitors. One firm told that although the email had caused no serious harm,
it had arrived in one of their inboxes hundreds of times.

Technology firm Enclave Technologies picked up on unusual email
activity on Tuesday, although it pointed out that none of its clients
had been affected by the problem. "We were quickly able to trace
servers that were causing the problem and alert the firms involved.  
Our priority then was to furnish the IT support companies who looked
after these servers with the knowledge to halt this spread of email,"  
explained Jane Reid, network manager, Enclave Technologies.

"Preventing the accidental propagation required the implementation of
the Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) patches KB886208 and KB835734. We
would advise any company running Microsoft Small Business Server to
ensure these patches are installed to prevent against this problem,"  
she continued.

The incident is being used as an opportunity to highlight the
importance of keeping up to date with patches. Apparently, none of the
solicitors involved had installed the server configuration recommended
by Microsoft.

Reid pointed out that situations like this are easily avoided.  
"Solicitors and other professional services firms' absolute focus is
their clients and it should not have to be their IT infrastructure,"  
she said. "We believe that companies who do not have their own
internal IT capability can prevent this sort of accident in the future
by ensuring their IT maintenance and support provider keep on top of
best practice and the latest updates."

Still, installing patches is not always the panacea it appears to be -
some users who have installed patches in the past have reported
further problems, while Microsoft recently withdrew a planned security
patch, citing concerns over quality.

Windows users have been hit by a number of bugs in recent months,
including a flaw previously thought to be relatively harmless. The
Internet Explorer security flaw exploits a problem with Javascript
that could be used to take control of a Windows system.

Copyright =A9 2005, ElectricNews.Net

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